Some foods need to be kept in the fridge to help stop bacteria from growing on them, such as food with a ‘use by’ date, cooked food and ready-to-eat food such as desserts.
To help stop bacteria from growing, remember:
- When you’re preparing food, keep it out of the fridge for the shortest time possible.
- If you have made a dish and you’re not going to eat it straight away, keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it.
- When the label says ‘keep refrigerated’, make sure you do keep the food in the fridge.
- If you’re having a buffet, leave the food in the fridge until people are ready to eat. Generally, you shouldn’t leave food out of the fridge for more than two hours.
Cool leftovers as quickly as possible (ideally within one to two hours) and then store them in the fridge. Eat any leftovers within two days.
Many foods don’t need to be kept in the fridge to keep them safe to eat, for example dry foods such as rice, pasta and flour, many types of drinks, tinned foods, and unopened jars. But it’s still important to take care how you store these foods.
Here are some tips:
Try to keep foods in sealed bags (seal them with elastic bands) or containers. This helps to keep them fresh and stops anything falling into the food by accident.
Don’t store food or drinks near cleaning products or other chemicals.
Don’t use old food containers to store household chemicals, and don’t store food in containers that have been used for other purposes.
Only reuse plastic water bottles if their condition hasn’t deteriorated and you can clean them.
Don’t store food on the floor, because this can encourage mice, ants and other pests.
Keep the storage area dry and not too warm.
Remember that some foods may need to be kept in the fridge once they are opened – follow any storage instructions on the label.